Thousands of people have turned out for the funeral procession of eleven Palestinian men killed by Israeli military forces during a raid in the occupied West Bank city of Nablus, amid heightened tensions that have drawn fears of a further escalation in violence.
Residents and local sources said the mourners carried the bodies of the victims during a Thursday ceremony attended by people from all walks of life. People were crying as hundreds came on motorcycles and by cars from various Palestinian towns and cities to bid farewell to the martyrs.
Widespread confrontations broke out on Wednesday, soon after Israeli troops stormed Nablus with dozens of armored vehicles and special forces at 10 a.m. local time (0800 GMT).
The army blocked off all entrances to the city before surrounding a home with two high-profile Palestinian resistance fighters, identified as Hossam Isleem and Mohammad Abdulghani, who were both killed.
At least 11 Palestinians were killed. Another 102 people were also injured – 82 hit by live ammunition, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. Six were in critical condition. A 66-year-old man who suffered from gas inhalation during the raid died in hospital later on Wednesday, the ministry said.
The Lions’ Den resistance group said in a statement that its members engaged in clashes with Israeli forces during the raid, alongside fighters from the newly-formed Balata Brigades. Young Palestinians pelted armored Israeli vehicles with rocks.
Millions of Palestinians across the West Bank observed a general strike on Thursday as they mourned the eleven victims. Stores closed early in all cities.
الاضراب الشامل يعم البلدة القديمة في القدس المحتلة، اليوم حدادًا على شهداء نابلس. pic.twitter.com/0ecpOGX8Mc— وكالة شهاب للأنباء (@ShehabAgency) February 23, 2023
UN Special Coordinator seeking to deescalate situation following Nablus massacre
Meanwhile, the United Nations Special Coordinator for the so-called Middle East Peace Process, Tor Wennesland, said he was deeply disturbed by the Israeli military’s massacre in Nablus, and that he was working to deescalate the situation.
“I am deeply disturbed by the continuing cycle of violence and appalled by the loss of civilian lives,” Wennesland said in a statement. “I am continuing my engagement with all concerned parties to de-escalate the situation. I urge all sides to refrain from steps that could further enflame an already volatile situation.”
Palestinian woman shot, injured by Israeli forces over alleged stabbing attempt
Additionally, Israeli military forces shot and injured a Palestinian woman southeast of occupied East al-Quds over an alleged stabbing attempt against the regime's soldiers.
The Israeli police alleged in a statement that the attempted stabbing occurred near the settlement of Ma’ale Adumim on Thursday morning.
The statement claimed that the woman approached the guards at a checkpoint at the entrance to the settlement while brandishing a knife “in an attempt to stab them.”
“The security guards fired at her and neutralized her,” police added.
The number of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces since the start of 2023 has now risen to 61 people, including 13 children, in the occupied territories.
Israeli forces launch raids on cities across the occupied West Bank almost on a daily basis under the pretext of detaining what the regime calls “wanted” Palestinians. The raids usually lead to deadly attack against residents.
Over the past months, Israel has ramped up attacks on Palestinian towns and cities throughout the occupied territories. As a result of these attacks, dozens of Palestinians have lost their lives and many others have been arrested.
On January 26, Israeli forces raided the city of Jenin and its neighboring refugee camp in the north of the occupied West Bank, killing ten Palestinians in one of the deadliest raids in years.
The United Nations marked 2022 as the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank in 16 years.
Israeli forces killed at least 171 Palestinians in the West Bank and occupied East al-Quds last year, including more than 30 children. At least 9,000 others were also injured.
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